TITLE: Encounters

PAIRING: itachiXsakura

TIMELINE/SPOILERS: Spoilers until Rescue Gaara Arc. I think this is the most convenient timeline for this pairing...

WARNINGS: One-sided; hints of KakaSaku; suggestive themes

DISCLAIMER: Masashi Kishimoto owns Naruto and all related characters, etc etc etc.


ENCOUNTERS

Their first encounter had been unpleasant.

She was with the jinchuriki, one of Suna's elders, and Konoha's Copy-nin. He couldn't recall seeing her back in Konoha, and her bright pink hair and red outfit were almost as much an eyesore as Naruto's. She clearly stuck out among people, and he couldn't help but ponder how poor she must be in blending with the citizens, not unless she was in henge. She wouldn't be accepted in ANBU with that atrocious hair color.

Surprisingly, she wasn't as weak as he thought she was. She didn't get caught in his Sharingan's genjutsu technique unlike Naruto, and she had immediately helped her companion when she realized he was caught with no other way out.

But that would be their last meeting. He was supposed to use his replacement as a distraction, but he wouldn't hesitate to kill her if given the chance.


The second time he saw her, he couldn't believe that it was the same kunoichi. He and Kisame were coming back from a short mission in Mist, and on their way back they spied upon a group of ANBU several meters at the base of the cliff they had been traveling on. There were three of them, and they were apparently taking a short break. If he wasn't mistaken, they had just come from a mission. ANBU were known to set off for their mission as fast as they could, taking a break only after the mission was over.

He immediately knew who the man with the silver mop of hair was, and he could only assume that the other man with long hair was a Hyuuga. His clan had been rivals with the Hyuuga long enough for him to immediately know a member of the clan even from afar.

The third person, who was checking on Hatake for injuries, was undoubtedly the pink-haired kunoichi he saw two years back. He doubted anyone else had the same hair color, and after living in Konoha from his birth until before he left, he had never seen anyone with the same shade of hair.

He had assumed she wouldn't pass in ANBU, but now, as she administered a health inspection on the stubborn Hyuuga, it was clear that she wasn't just a random shinobi stuck with lower-ranked missions.

"Wanna pay a visit, Itachi-san?"

Itachi glanced sideways at his partner, but didn't say anything. He took one last look at the three ANBU resting several meters below them, and stood up next to Kisame.

"We're leaving."

They had barely started to move when Itachi had to jump away from where he was standing, and in less than a second the ground had been cracked at a destructive rate, a small part of the cliff falling on the ground below. Kisame easily avoided the Hyuuga's Gentle Fist attacks, but it didn't mean the Hyuuga was going to give up.

"Damn it." He heard the kunoichi hiss from the center of the large hole on the ground. Kakashi swiped at Itachi with a kunai, and after several attempts, moved back to the kunoichi, and he was soon joined by the Hyuuga.

Kisame gave a low whistle, while Itachi only looked at the distance Hatake had pushed him away before going back to his teammate.

"Looks like we've got three suicidals here, ne, Itachi-san?"

Not much had been said after that, as the kunoichi, who seemed hell-bent on killing the two Akatsuki members on the spot, attacked the Uchiha, never hesitating to deliver her chakra-infused hits and kicks. Hatake fought by her side, occasionally turning to assist the Hyuuga with his fight with Kisame. Soon jutsus were used, and only when the three ANBU were almost drained of chakra did Hatake decided to call it off and nearly dragged the still angered kunoichi away.

"We're not following them?" Kisame said, looking very much amused. "It was a nice fight, you gotta admit."

"We're going back to the base."

Kisame didn't push the matter further, and only followed Itachi as they went on their on way. It didn't stop him from loudly musing about their encounter with the three ANBU, and although Itachi didn't give any form of reply, Kisame prattled on, laughing occasionally.

Itachi knew that Konoha ninjas were ordered to kill a missing nin on the spot, unless they were completely overpowered, and he understood the hostility the three ANBU showed. What he didn't understand was the sheer hatred the kunoichi seem to hold against him. Perhaps he had killed a family member, or a friend.

Itachi minutely frowned. He shouldn't be concerned with such things, but he was still pondering about the pink-haired Konoha nin, and how she didn't seem to mind being injured or killed as long as she brought him down as well.


He hadn't seen the pink-haired kunoichi for several weeks, and whenever he would have time for himself, he often found himself musing about her. She had defeated Sasori with the help of Suna's elder he had seen years back, and upon investigation, she was, apparently, Tsunade's famous pupil, possibly one of the best medic-nins in the five shinobi countries. She was also a former teammate of his brother, which would most likely explain her immense hatred of him.

Perhaps fighting and killing her would end the curiosity that had plagued him since their second encounter.


It had been relatively easy to infiltrate Konoha, and he had left Kisame outside the village to keep a lookout. He didn't say why he chose to pay a visit to the village he had abandoned, but he knew Kisame already had an idea, given by his loud, constant musings about their encounter with the three ANBU not too long ago.

Getting the location of her apartment was relatively easy, and he didn't encounter any Konoha nin on his way there. When he had finally entered her apartment, she was dead asleep to the world, and he finally got to observe her face up close. She wasn't exceptionally pretty, but he knew that she wouldn't have many problems employing the female tactic in retrieving information.

Itachi gave a slight grin. No matter how powerful the female nin was, she was too vulnerable in her sleep, and she wouldn't even know that she had died unless she woke up suddenly while choking on her own blood.

With that in mind, Itachi silently took out a kunai, its sharp blade glinting in the darkness. In one fell swoop, the kunoichi would be gone, and his mind would finally be free of thoughts about her.

"I'm afraid I cannot allow that."

Itachi tried to move his arm, but Hatake's grip was firm. He was in ANBU uniform, and his porcelain mask loomed infront of Itachi's own passive mask. Kunai were drawn up, poised dangerously infront of each other's chests, ready to strike when the other moved even so slightly.

"Disturbing to see an Akatsuki picking on a female ninja he has no relations with." Hatake said from behind his mask. Itachi only looked straight back at him.

"It is none of your business."

"What do you want from Sakura?"

Itachi frowned slightly. He had a good reason why he wanted to kill the kunoichi, but he would never tell anyone. Such weakness was unacceptable, and for someone else to know about it would be too dangerous.

"Itachi-san, I thought something was up. I saw him going in the village in the same direction as you—"

Itachi stepped back from Hatake, who in turn nudged Sakura awake. The kunoichi struggled to regain and maintain consciousness, and upon seeing the Akatsuki cloak Itachi was wearing as well as his large partner sitting by the window sill, she quickly took out a kunai from under her pillow. Her face had gone pale, but upon seeing Itachi, she had the murderous look on once more.

"You." She all but snarled. "Kakashi, why are they here?"

"So you're visiting this weird little brat?" Kisame said, grinning from ear to ear. "You have a weird taste in women, Itachi-san."

Itachi pushed aside the need to glare at Kisame.

"I'd be more alert when I'm asleep if I were you, kunoichi." He said, before leaving the room with his partner.


When he finally decided to take it in another way and took the kunoichi in the middle of her solo mission, she was definitely not happy. She used every single weapon she had on her, nearly exhausted her chakra for a hit that never came to be, and when she finally couldn't do any more of her destructive attacks, one blow to her head was enough to make her lose consciousness.

When she finally came to, she struggled with all her might against the ropes that bound her. As Kisame had always drained her out of her chakra, all her struggling was of no use, and she only ended up burning her skin. Whenever he would take off the cloth that covered her mouth, she endlessly sent him threats and curses, vowing to kill him if he made even the slightest mistake and gave her an opportunity.

On her third day of capture, Itachi decided to ease the kunoichi's pain by a bit and propped her up on a chair. As she didn't shout anymore when he would shove food to her, he decided to forgo the gag.

"Well that's rich." The kunoichi grumbled. "Finally thought of putting me upright. Damn binds…"

Itachi sat at the edge of his bed, silently observing the kunoichi as he always did for the past few days. He had never met a woman with such an unwomanly way of speaking, and he was almost sure Hidan would be impressed.

"What do you really want, you sick bastard?" The kunoichi asked, glaring at Itachi. Maybe it was a good time to ask now.

"You're angry at me because of what happened to my brother."

The kunoichi rolled her eyes, and resumed glaring at him.

"Well isn't that obvious."

"With the way you are acting, one would assume that you and my brother had a special bond."

"Damn right I have." The kunoichi spat. "Naruto and I were friends with him, and because of what you did, he left Konoha and joined Orochimaru. You have no idea how it hurt Naruto!"

Itachi was slightly baffled. The kunoichi and his brother weren't lovers, but she was fiercely protective of him, as well as of the jinchuriki.

"It seems no one yet is aware that you have gone missing from your mission."

The kunoichi didn't look bothered.

"Kakashi will know, but don't expect me to wait for them to come for me."

Itachi nearly frowned.

"Hatake." He said, and he found that he hated that name. "Your lover."

The kunoichi frowned deeply.

"If you're planning on using him to force me to heal your eyes, you're talking to a wall."

Itachi ignored the kunoichi and concentrated on his own thoughts. So Hatake was attached to her. That meant he would have to eliminate the man before doing anything else.

The kunoichi flinched as he stood up from his seat, but he didn't say anything else to her and he left the room. After his short mission ordered by the Leader, he would track down the Copy-nin and remove competition.


The mission had been relatively easy, just information gathering, and Itachi was back at his and Kisame's current hideout in less than a day. Upon entering his room, he gave a quick glance at the kunoichi who was still bound and seated at a chair. She was sound asleep, her head lolling to her left, her face a shade of red. Frowning, Itachi checked if the kunoichi had a fever, but found out instead that she had been subjected to a strong amount of alcohol.

He would have to talk to Kisame.


"The kunoichi is drunk."

Kisame looked back at Itachi, and then resumed checking their food supply.

"We ran out of water, so I had to give her something else."

"It doesn't take too long to get fresh supply from the river outside."

"Hey, you said I should always keep an eye on her while you're gone." Kisame said, fishing out two large jugs of sake from a cabinet. "Anyway, let's drink up. Been a while since I had sake."

Itachi continued to glare at Kisame, but accepted the other bottle of sake that the large nin handed to him.

A few hours later, Itachi slowly walked back to his room. Their one bottle each session had turned to four, and even he was susceptible to the effects of exceptionally hard liquor. Making a mental note to refuse drinking more than a bottle of anything that came from Kisame, Itachi quietly entered his room, where the kunoichi was still fast asleep.

'Ne, Itachi-san, with that kunoichi drunk, I'm sure it'll be easier for you now to do some… things… so you owe me one!'

Itachi frowned as Kisame's laugh reverberated in his head. He might have been a mass-murderer, but he wasn't one to sexually molest a person and take advantage of them to satisfy his carnal pleasures. He didn't need a genjutsu or potent alcohol to do that.

"Kakashi…"

Itachi's frown deepened as he head the girl sigh. Turning back on her, he confirmed that she was still asleep, and just dreaming about someone.

"S-stop… they'll… see…"

As the kunoichi squirmed in her binds, Itachi's displeasure increased. Of all the things the kunoichi would dream about, it had to be about Hatake, and seemingly at a worldly situation.

When the kunoichi gave a sleepy giggle, Itachi decided to snap her into her senses. All he wanted was to get a good amount of rest before seeking out for the Copy-nin, and no kunoichi dreaming about her lover would prevent him from doing so.

"Stop that, kunoichi, or I would have to gag you again."

When the kunoichi wouldn't respond, Itachi pulled her head straight and shook her mildly. The female cracked open her eyes, and much to his surprise, smiled.

"Kakashi…"

Itachi frowned once more. The kunoichi's unfocused eyes and lopsided grin were clear indications of her still being inebriated, and it would take more than shaking to wake her up fully.

Just as Itachi was about to shake her once more, the kunoichi leaned towards him, her lips touching his as if she had always done such act with him, and gave him another grin and giggle as she pulled back a few inches from his face.

"Really naughty…" She said, struggling a little in her binds. "Tying me up…"

Itachi decided it was best to return the piece of cloth that had once covered the kunoichi's mouth, but before he could even move to get one from his pack, the female before him moved once more, and this time, Itachi finally considered it wasn't too bad to give in to his desires even once. The kunoichi was heavily drunk as it seemed, and he would just have to tolerate her calling someone else's name while he took advantage of her hallucinations.

If only he hadn't drunk that much alcohol as well…


When Itachi came to, he was coughing and gagging on his own blood. There was an immense pain on his abdomen, and it seemed two of his ribs had cracked. Looking around his room, he found himself crouched on the ground, and infront of him was his bed, crushed into a heap of broken wood and ripped sheets. He could identify two sets of sandaled feet and a set of dog's feet on the floor, and the door towards his room had been knocked out of its hinges. After doing a quick first aid on himself, Itachi stood up from the ground, and Kisame came in his room, Samehada balanced on his shoulder. He ignored the former Mist-nin's low whistle and put on his Akatsuki cloak.

"Never thought she'd go that easily." Kisame said, grinning. "I guess you should take your own sleeping advice, ne, Itachi-san?"

Itachi only frowned and observed the set of bigger sandal prints.

"The other person." He said, and Kisame shrugged.

"I was getting us a new supply of water." Kisame said, leaning back on a wall. "When I went back, that white-haired guy was already escaping with the kunoichi and several dogs. I told you getting water from that river was troublesome."

Itachi glanced at the now empty chair where the kunoichi he had captured had once sat on. Now he had another reason why he couldn't die just yet. His brother would have to wait for a few more years.

: END :


Author's Notes: I know, I know, I should be working on with chapter 12 of Torikoshi Kurou. But I got stuck a bit, and uni's still killing me big time. I hope this one will make up for the huge time gap LOL

Itachi's OOC in the end, I know. I could hardly imagine him getting drunk enough to get pwned while he's sleeping. But I still like how this one came out hehehe :D

There's something wrong with the editing thing of ff. the page breaks/whatever you call those long lines are missing -___- Pardon the use of long dashes...

And lastly, comments, reviews, and bursts of fangirling squee are most welcome :D